Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 12, 1967
NUMBER 23, PAGE 2b-3,5b

Evolution Examined

Harry E. Ozment

"3000 AT APE TRIAL GET THRILL"! So read the headline of Louisville's Courier-Journal on July 21, 1925. This headline referred to the famous Scopes Evolution Case, which was tried in the small town of Dayton, Tennessee in the summer of 1925. A law had just been passed in Tennessee's legislature. It read:

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, that it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the universities, normals, and all other public schools of the State, which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State, to teach any theory that denies the story of the divine creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.

Thomas Scopes, a 24-year-old high school teacher, decided to teach evolution in his biology classes and test the constitutionality of this state statute in the courts. Thus it was that two of the greatest orators in this nation's history - Clarence Darrow, attorney for the defense, and William Jennings Bryan, attorney for the prosecution - met in Dayton's hot courtroom. After a bitter trial, Thomas Scopes was found guilty of violating the Tennessee statue and was fined $100.

Well, all that happened in 1925 - that was sort of a long ago, wasn't it? Yes, it was, and through the years there has been a general relaxation of concern about this topic. It has been my observation that Christians are generally disinterested in the subject. Some seem to think that this subject died a long time ago, and it is no longer relevant today - "The Christian's faith is no longer threatened by this atheistic doctrine," they may be heard to say. But beware, my friend! The devil never sleeps. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." (I Peter 5:8) Just as we feel safe and let our guard down, Satan strikes, and all too often, his aim is deadly. When I was in high school, it was "nothing" to see a fellow student walking down the hall with some atheistic or agnostic book under his arm or in his hand. These students would read such books as Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell, and then actually sneer at anyone who would be so "ignorant" and "unlearned' as to believe in the existence of God. If a person were to ask any of these students how they began to lose their faith in God, the admission would likely be made that disbelief began in the classroom where evolution was taught as fact. Now, stop - read that last sentence again! Let that sink in! Christians, that can happen to your child. Don't laugh - it can if your child is not taught how to cope with this doctrine when he meets it. And don't kid yourself - he will meet it! Evolution is being taught now, not only in colleges and universities, but also in high schools and even in elementary schools. Why, a pre-schooler can go into a dimestore and buy a coloring book which teaches him the theory of evolution. Oh, yes - this subject is very relevant to our times and to our faith, and I believe that we should study it. This article and the ones which follow will be designed to accomplish two purposes:

(1) To acquaint the parent and the student with the doctrine of evolution.

(2) To inspire faith in the student by showing that evolution is not the fact that it is taught to be in most classrooms.

The logical way to begin our study is to define the word "evolution." Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines it thusly: "A process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state." Now, no one can deny that "changes" have taken place. For example, I believe in the evolution of the gospel - i.e., the revelation of the gospel has gone through five different stages (purpose stage, promise stage, prophecy stage, preparation stage, and perfected or revealed stage). And "changes" have certainly taken place in the biological world. Therefore, mere change is not the issue. We must look further for a definition which will clarify the issue. There are two specific types of evolution with which we take issue. Let us define both of them:

(1) Organic evolution. This is the belief that all things originated and have continued through time only through natural processes. Therefore, according to the organic evolutionist, no God is involved in the origin of matter and life.

(2) Theistic evolution. This is the belief that God brought about all matter and all life through natural processes. I have absolutely no respect for a theistic evolutionist - he has done nothing but compromise the truth of the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2. This wilting coward doesn't even have the courage to stand up and fight on either side of the issue.

True believers in God's word disagree with both organic and theistic evolution. Although no one can deny that changes have taken place within different biological classifications (i.e., species, genera, families, orders, classes, and phyla), no one can prove that changes have taken place from one biological classification to another. In other words, no one can prove that a reptile (which is in one biological classification) many years ago evolved into a bird (which is in another biological classification). Science must prove this if they are ever to prove evolution true. But you know something? Science will never be able to prove this. Why, you ask? Because it never happened in the first place, and science will never be able to make it happen! The Bible teaches this. Notice Genesis 1:11: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so." This verse teaches that one "kind" of plant will never evolve into another "kind" of plant — each plant will reproduce after its own "kind." Notice also Genesis 1:24: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the earth after his kind, and it was so." This verse teaches that one "kind" of animal will never evolve into another "kind" of animal. Someone might ask, "What about hybrids - aren't they 'changed' from their parents?" Once again, no one denies that "changes" can and do take place in biology. But, Christians emphatically deny that one "kind" of plant or animal will produce another "kind". A hybrid is a "change" - but a hybrid is still the same "kind" of plant or animal as was its parents. There is no way that anyone can wriggle out of the truths expressed in Genesis 1:11, 24. They have been immutable and unchangeable since the beginning of time and will continue to be so until the end of time. But that's to be expected — after all, the omniscient God that we worship established these as truths!

In spite of the fact that God established these eternal truths in the beginning of time, man down through the ages has continued to fight them and the God who uttered them. Let us now notice a few of the outstanding men who have contributed to the formulation of the doctrine of evolution.

Count de Buffon (1701-1788) is considered to be the father of modern evolution. He was a very wealthy man, thus he was able to devote virtually all of his time in study on evolution. He wrote a 44-volume set of books entitled Natural History of Animals, which set forth his theories of evolution.

Chevalier de Lamarck (1744-1829) taught invertebrate zoology at the Museum of Natural History in Paris. His theory of evolution, which is called "Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics," can be explained in three steps:

(1) New organs or variations in body structure are acquired as a result of need.

(2) Development of organs and size of body structure are dependent upon use.

(3) All of these above "variations" (known as "acquired characteristics") are transferred to offspring through reproduction.

Lamarck's theory of evolution is rejected today by most evolutionists. In spite of this fact, this theory is often used to explain a great deal of "evolution." A case in point is the fish without eyes that swims in Mammoth Cave's river. Evolutionists explain that these fish once had eyes but found the dark, underground river of Mammoth Cave. Because they could not use their eyes in this place, its eyes slowly disappeared through many generations. This account of the blind fish of Mammoth Cave finds its basis upon the discarded theories of Lamarck, yet thousands of Mammoth Cave visitors each year are gullible enough to believe this account as it is told to them by cave guides and literature.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882), perhaps the most readily associated man with evolution, as a careful and keen thinker. He was appointed naturalist for five years on a ship called the "Beagle," which went on exploratory missions to various parts of the world. The notes which he kept while on these missions played a great part in formulating his theory of evolution. After leaving the "Beagle", he moved with his family to a small town near London, England where he spent the rest of his life thinking and writing about evolution. His theory of evolution, which is called "Natural Selection", can be explained as follows:

(1) More offspring are produced from parents than can survive.

(2) This "over-production" results in a competition to live on the part of the offspring (called "struggle for existence").

(3) This "competition to live" leads to the natural selection of the most fit through the death of those less fit to survive.

(4) The offspring of those who were the most fit (and thus, survived) inherit the characteristics which made their parents the most fit. We shall study Darwin's theory in our next article.

Hugo de Vries (1848-1935) was a Dutch botanist who wrote Species and Varieties, Their Origin by Mutation. His theory was that evolution has been due to changes in the germ plasma of the living cell.

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